Wednesday, 28 October 2009

49: So Solid Crew - 21 Seconds

The Urban Dictionary defines So Solid Crew as "a band with more members than collected brain cells, So Solid specialise in banal, derivative, and hectic garage. Lyrically, though, they're just a bunch of Romford chavs pretending to be West Coast bad-boys, rapping about money, gats, and hoes like you'd think it had never been done before. As far as garage acts go, this lot should have been left in the garage with the engine turned on. They wrote a song called 21 Seconds, in which each of the 10,000 members had to talk bollocks really quickly for 21 seconds, one after the other, otherwise the single would have lasted for at least 2 hours..."

Yup, that just about sums it up. Except that, in my opinion, '21 Seconds' was a clever idea for a track, well executed and delivered. The proof is in the pudding, and '21 Seconds' topped the charts in the summer of 2001. Looking back at the chronology of #1 singles in the UK, you'll struggle to find a track that looks as out of place as this one. Sandwiched between Atomic Kitten's awful Bangles cover and 5ive's 'Let's Dance', '21 Seconds' was a controversial chart-topper (because of the content of the lyrics), and probably the high watermark of the UK speed garage scene.

The collective approach to the rapping on the record worked well in places, less well in others. My highlights would be MC Harvey's verse (which begins "every lyric I do..."), the way Romeo hands over the mic at the end of his verse ("two multiplied by ten plus one.... Romeo done"), and the world's first introduction to the exceptional talents of Lisa 'Leeeee-saaa' Maffia.

It turns out that So Solid Crew have recently begun recording songs for a comeback album. The world of music has moved on immeasurably since they made this remarkable debut, but with so many rap talents to draw upon, they've probably got a decent chance of more success.

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